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August 07, 2020

New Jersey grant program will cover unpaid rent during COVID-19 crisis

Small property owners will be required to forgive tenants' overdue balances

Housing Rent
Murphy Rent NJ Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced the Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program to support property owners and tenants who have struggled financially as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Small property owners in New Jersey who have been impacted by unpaid rent during the coronavirus pandemic may be eligible for grants through a new state program announced Friday by Gov. Phil Murphy.

The Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program, administered by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, aims to offset lost revenue during the four-month period from April through July 2020.

Those who receive grant funds will be required to forgive back rent and late fees accumulated by tenants during the COVID-19 crisis.

“To emerge stronger from this crisis, we need to make direct investments in our hardest hit neighborhoods and communities,” said Murphy. “Ensuring that responsible landlords can continue to maintain their properties and provide quality housing to our tenants is essential to our recovery. Through this program, we can also provide direct support to COVID-impacted renters by forgiving back-rent.”

Funded through the federal CARES Act, program eligibility is limited to:

•Owners with properties that have at least 3 but no more than 10 total housing units

•Owners with properties that are not seasonal or vacation rentals

•Properties must have current fire inspection certificates as of March 9, 2020

•Owners of properties with at least one non-vacant rental unit impacted by COVID-19 between April and July 2020

•Owners with properties that have low- to moderate-income rent levels or rent based on up to 80% of the median area income.

•Owners with properties that have low- to moderate-income rent levels or rent based on up to 80% of the median area income

Eligibility guidelines for maximum rent thresholds can be found by county and bedroom size on the website of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency.

About one-third of the $25 million program will be reserved for applicants who are registered in the Department of Community Affairs' Registration Inspection Management System (RIMS) as individual or family owners.

“We know that many of New Jersey’s landlords are not companies or corporations. Rather, they are families and individuals. And like the families they rent to, they are struggling because they are often locked out of access to capital and federal resources,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver. “The number one priority of this program is to offer much-needed relief to small landlords, who will in turn pass along the benefits to their tenants who are also fighting to stay afloat in the midst of this ongoing public health and economic crisis.”

The application window for the program will open Aug. 26, with submissions to be reviewed in a random order. Information on how to apply and required documentation can be found through the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency.

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